Few things bring Americans together with more religious fervor than the Super Bowl – well, the Super Bowl and Taylor Swift.
On Sunday, Feb. 11, families and friends will gather nationwide to cheer for The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, who will compete in the 2024 Super Bowl. But fans won’t just be watching their favorite players on the field…their eyes will also be on Taylor Swift, who is dating the Chiefs’ star player, Travis Kelce.
Since last June, when I shared How Taylor Swift Inspires Me in My Bridgebuilding Era, a lot has changed; Swift wrapped the first leg of her Eras tour, released the Eras Tour Movie, was named 2023 Time Person of the Year, became the first person to win four Album of the Year Grammy’s Awards ever, and announced her next studio album, The Tortured Poets Department. A true American love story was also being written in her spare time.
It all started with a football player and a friendship bracelet.
Travis Kelce, a football player for the Kansas City Chiefs, showed up to Swift’s show last July to give Swift a friendship bracelet with his number. Any Swiftie (as Swift’s fans call themselves) can tell you that the act of providing a friendship bracelet to another Swiftie is practically a sacred ritual, inspired by Swift’s song, “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” When Taylor was spotted at several Chiefs games in September, fans started speculating that the two were dating. Her first appearance at one of Kelce’s games sparked the most significant increase in ticket sales for the Chiefs ever.
There has been pushback from football fans regarding the influx of attention surrounding Taylor Swift when she attends a game; anger and hatred have been spewed across social media towards Swift and her fans. The “dads, Brads, and Chads” may be upset, but Swift’s presence at the Chiefs games brings people together. Little girls were seen at the games and watching at home, hoping to see their heroes, while their dads watched their favorite players on the field. Swifties of all ages have turned watching Swift at football games into sport, livestreaming their responses on social media to Swift’s appearances at the games.
At Interfaith America, the simplest definition of bridgebuilding can be boiled down to three steps: respect, relate, and cooperate. We may be watching the Super Bowl with different intentions or hopes tomorrow, but whether you are rooting for the Chiefs, the 49ers, or Taylor Swift, I believe the Super Bowl has the potential to be an excellent bridgebuilding exercise. If we can hold space for our differences, find intersections of commonality, and enjoy the game together, we can swiftly build bridges.
Kaitlyn Dalton is a Talent & Culture Manager at Interfaith America.